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English definition of “only”

only

  /ˈəʊnli/ adv
A1 not more than a particular size or amount: It’ll only take a few minutes. She’s only fifteen.
A2 not anyone or anything else: The offer is available to UK residents only.
B1 used to mean that something happened a very short time ago: She’s only just got here.
B1 used to say that something is not important, or that you did not mean to upset someone: Don’t worry – it’s only a scratch. I was only joking.
B1 not in any other place: These birds are only found in New Zealand.
if only used to express a wish for something that is impossible or unlikely to happen: If only I knew the answer!
I only hope/wish used to emphasize what you are hoping or wishing for: I only hope you know what you’re doing. I only wish that I had more time.
not only… (but) also used to say that more than one thing is true: Not only did he turn up late, he also forgot his books.
(Definition of only adv from the Cambridge Essential Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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